Backing for former First Minister’s remarks on EU membership

MSP Graeme Dey.
MSP Graeme Dey.

Angus South SNP MSP Graeme Day has welcomed comments by former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish describing Jose Manuel Barroso’s remarks on Scotland’s European Union (EU) membership as a “monumental blunder”.

Mr McLeish added that the European Commission President had “either been misled into making such inaccurate comments or does not understand the context or the nature of the debate”.

Mr Barroso recently said that an independent Scotland would find it “extremely difficult, if not impossible” to join the EU and membership would have to be applied for, approved by all member states.

Mr McLeish’s remarks follow the ex-European Court judge Sir David Edward, who backed the Scottish Government’s position on EU membership and stated that membership will be “straightforward”.

He also called for ‘common sense’ in the referendum debate, criticising the relentless negativity of the ‘No’ campaign.

Mr Dey said: “A growing number of experts have already made clear that Mr Barroso’s comments were completely out-of-place. And now, for the former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish to speak out on this matter is welcome confirmation of this.

“As Mr Barroso himself said, the question of Scotland’s membership of the EU as an independent state will not be a matter for the European Commission, but for the people of Scotland and other EU member states – none of whom have said they would veto Scotland’s continuing membership, because it would be against their interests to do so.

“Scotland has been in the EU for the last 40 years, already complies with the terms of membership, and is committed to a positive relationship with the EU as an independent state. It is clear that the only threat to Scotland’s membership of the EU would be a ‘No’ vote and the increasingly Eurosceptic politics of Westminster - culminating in a possible in/out referendum in 2017.”